Interfaith Mourning Across North America in the Wake of Orlando

God event Reno June 12, 2016
Leaders gather in Reno, Nevada.

Following the mass shooting that took the lives of 50 people in a gay night club in Orlando, Florida, interfaith groups and coalitions are coming together to host interfaith vigils across the United States. Here is just a sample of events that are happening. Please email northamerica@uri.org if you know of an event that is not listed.

  • URI North America Leadership Council Member Johnny Martin speaks at a vigil in Phoenix.
    URI North America Leadership Council Member Johnny Martin speaks at a vigil in Phoenix, Arizona.

    In Sebastian, Florida, the interfaith intentional community Kashi, dedicated their Sunday Evening Arti and prayers dedicated to all the victims and their families of the horrific shootings in Orlando.

  • A gathering of multifaith leaders in Reno, Nevada on Sunday gathered to condemn the shooting and light lamps.
  • On Sunday the San Francisco Interfaith Council invited faith leaders to assemble at Harvey Milk Plaza for a vigil to honor, remember and pray for the victims who lost their lives.
  • In Phoenix, Arizona, Mayor Greg Stanton, Equality Arizona and allied organizations and faith leaders, including members of URI Cooperation Circles Sun Devils Are Better Together and Arizona Faith Network, convened a candlelight vigil in solidarity for the victims.
  • On Sunday, June 12, Toronto’s Church and Wellesley village hosted a multifaith vigil attended by hundreds of community members. Toronto MP Rob Oliphant spoke at the gathering, denouncing the violence against the gay community whilst also denouncing anyone blaming the violent tragedy on the Muslim community. He shared, “While I heard the news and the numbers of those fatalities kept growing in the morning, my body reacted and I had two impulses,” he said” The first he said was to reach out to his gay and lesbian friends and seek solidarity with those who have experienced homophobia. “But my second response was to reach out to my Muslim brothers and sisters to say hate can never be met with hate; hate has to be met with love… We know better than anyone else that it is by love that we are saved.”
  • The Tri-Cities Interfaith Council will gather Thursday for interfaith prayers and remarks before moving to stand at the intersection to show solidarity and be a presence to the community that we will not stand for these hateful actions and violence.
  • On Thursday, June 16,from 7:00 to 8:00 pm at the Sundial Bridge NorcalOUTreach will sponsor a vigil in solidarity with the communities, families, and victims of the massacre in Orlando, Florida. We will gather at the north end of the Sundial Bridge. Speakers will
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    Attendees hold lit candles at an interfaith vigil in Phoenix, Arizona.

    emphasize healing, hope, and compassion as we strive to keep the spirit of PRIDE alive.

  • On Wednesday, June 15, the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto will be hosting a multifaith community prayer service at 7pm.
  • In Cary, North Carolina, the Community Peace Project and Islamic Association of Cary, will host an interfaith and community vigil on Monday.
  • On Bainbridge Island, Washington, the community will gather Monday for a community vigil and to write messages on scrolls that will be sent to both Orlando and Charleston, where the first anniversary of the deadly shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is being commemorated this week. The Interfaith Council of Bainbridge Island/North Kitsap, a member of the URI network, is helping to hold and promote this community event.
  • In Las Vegas, The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada hosted an interfaith prayer vigil Sunday night.
  • The University of Toronto’s Multi-Faith Centre, Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, Sexual & Gender Diversity Office, and Equity and Diversity Offices at UTM and UTSC held a vigil in support of the LGBTQ+ community.
  • The Interfaith Alliance of Idaho gathered on the steps of the state capitol in Boise for a vigil and a call to exercise love and not hate.
  • In Austin, Texas interfaith leaders and the LGBTQI community will gather Sunday at the Texas State Capitol for a vigil.
  • In Worcester, Massachusetts will hold an interfaith prayer service Sunday night.
  • On Monday, June 13, the The Toronto Sisters of the Jubilant Order of York partnered with The 519 Community Centre to hold a vigil in Barbara Hall Park for the victims and survivors of the Pulse Nightclub shootings. The vigil was attended by over a thousand community members who brought a candle, said a prayer and sought or gave comfort.
  • In Olympia, Washington Interfaith Works, Capitol City Pride and Unity in the Community will hold a vigil at Sylvester Park.
  • On Thursday, June 16, from 7:00 to 8:00 pm at the Sundial Bridge NorcalOUTreach will sponsor a vigil in solidarity with the communities, families, and victims of the massacre in Orlando, Florida.
  • On Sunday night hundreds of Torontonians came together to shed tears and share hugs at a candlelight vigil for the victims of the mass shooting. The vigil was held in the Church-Wellesley neighbourhood, which is serving as the epicentre of Toronto’s Pride celebrations this month. Premier Kathleen Wynne, Mayor John Tory and Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam all spoke at the event.
  • On Monday, June 13, Canadian Anglican Bishop Oulton is sponsoring a vigil at 8 p.m. at Springer Market Square, in Kingston, Ont. Additionally, the Bishop announced that the Litany of Reconciliation held at noon every Friday at St. George’s Cathedral in Kingston would “centre on the tragedy in Orlando.” He also encouraged parishes and individuals to contribute to an interfaith book of condolences that would be sent to the mayor of Orlando.
  • On Wednesday, June 15, Canadian Anglican Drainville’s diocese will hold a vigil in memory of the Orlando victims at the cathedral close in downtown Quebec City at 7 p.m.
  • In Sarasota, Florida, the Abrahamic Reunion will hold a prayer vigil Wednesday evening at Unity of Sarasota at 7:20 PM in the Sanctuary. They will pray with their feet, hands, hearts, and their being as the temple of Love Expressed in peace. They join together as an interfaith community of the Abrahamic Reunion to envision and create a world that works for all.
  • On Thursday, the interfaith community gathered in Pleasanton, CA to pray for peace in response to the tragedy of hatred and violence in Orlando.
  • In response to the tragedy in Orlando, the Marin Interfaith Council is holding a brief vigil on Thursday, June 16th from 6:30-6:45 pm on the front steps of First Presbyterian Church in San Rafael, which is located at 1510 Fifth Avenue. Leaders from different faith traditions will lead us as we pray for peace, remember the victims and their loved ones, and stand in solidarity with our friends in the LGBTQ and Latino Communities. [Update: The photographs below capture the event.]

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